Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Kubel Homers Down ChiSox; Fielder Keeps Brewers Close
Players of the Day from Tuesday, September 23, 2008 American League In what will likely decide the AL Central, the Twins and White Sox opened their three-game series in Minnesota Tuesday night. Game one went to the Twins as Jason Kubel tripled and homered twice, scoring three times and driving in three runs in Minnesota's 9-3 rout of the white Sox. That tightened the race to a 1 1/2 game lead for Chicago. It's all or nothing for both teams. Boston clinched at least a wild card placing with a 5-4 win over Cleveland. Meanwhile, the Rays were sweeping the Orioles in their day-night double header, 5-2 and 7-5. Tampa Bay now leads the AL East by 3 games. Their magic number is 2. Notes: Whatever happens in the Twins - White Sox series this week, both teams will have important games remaining. The Twins will stay at home to host the Royals, a distinct edge, as KC is one of the weaker teams in the AL. The White Sox will host the Indians for a 3-game series. Third-place Cleveland has been hot - 14-8 in September. Their loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday halted a 7-game win streak. The Indians, who have been out of the playoff race for months, may have the last laugh as a spoiler. Also in the mix is a rainout with Detroit that would be played on Monday, Sept. 29, if necessary. A two-day rainout washed away games with the Tigers on September 12 and 13. The Sox took both ends of a double header on the 14th, but the third game of the series was indefinitely postponed. National League Prince Fielder was not about to let the season slip away, especially against the lowly Pirates. With the score tied at 6-6 with two out in the bottom of the 9th, Fielder launched a bomb deep into the right field stands, bringing home Ryan Braun and himself with the winning runs in Milwaukee's 7-5 win over Pittsburgh. Milwaukee's win kept the wild card race tight as a sailor's knot. The Mets won, 6-2, over the Cubs, leaving the New Yorkers one game ahead of the Brewers. The Phillies dropped a 3-2 decision to Atlanta, leaving the Mets 1 1/2 back of Philly in the NL East race. Florida, despite a valiant season-long effort, was eliminated from both the wild card and NL East races with a 9-4 loss at Washington. Notes: The Dodgers took a long stride closer to the NL West title with a 10-1 win over San Diego coupled with Arizona's 7-4 loss at St. Louis. Those results left the Dodgers three games up with five to play. Their magic number is 3.